Sunday, 23 January 2011

A bit of rough!

As my knee injury heals slowly, I decided to see how it would cope with some rough ground. It doesn't get much rougher than Chee dale, a very muddy, rocky, slippery dale underfoot, especially at this time of year. When we had the super-low temp's recently, it was THE place I wanted to go (but, of course, couldn't due to my injury). The cliffs here overhang and are almost ALWAYS running with water, so the most incredible icicles form in low temp's. I had to miss it this time though, and so this visit was tinged with sadness, as all the icicles had long gone. Still, as my second 'proper' walk, it felt good!
We parked at the usual place, Topley Pike, and set off down the track to the cottages in Chee dale.

This is the river, quite in spate still, after the rains and snow we've had.

After a steady walk along the banks of the river, we came to the first set of stepping stones, JUST passable today.
We saw some icicles on the opposite bank, but I knew the ones on the cliffs further on would be melted & gone by now.
Looking back along Chee dale. This was where I heard my first dipper calling (and identified it by sight).
Our friends, Dave & Moira, enjoying the walk.
On the second bridge, just before the next set of stepping stones.
Again, just visible above the water line. These stones have recently been topped with extra stone to increase height.
Yours truly, negotiating them.
These are the overhanging cliffs where the icicles form. As I expected, nothing there now.
Chee dale doesn't get much sunshine, due to it's orientation and high sides. It's VERY popular with climbers though, as these limestone faces are some of the most challenging in Derbyshire.
We disturbed a heron, which flew off overhead.
Some of the mossy faces looked lovely in the light.
Also, the lichen was some of the best I've seen.
Never far away today, the dipper.
We dropped into lower Chee dale, where the river was narrower and had more action in it.
Grass, almost imitating the water as it formed 'waves'.
After this, we headed back across the high ground to the car. Not a long walk (about 8 miles, 1200 feet of ascent), but more exercise for my knee, which held up very well.

Friday, 21 January 2011

A little edges ramble.

As most of you know (well - I've whinged about it enough) I damaged my knee on Arran, and it only started to feel better on Christmas eve. I had done a short walk from Bakewell to Rowsley, about 3 miles, but it felt sore. Now, it felt better, so it was time to test it. We decided on a walk of just over six miles, with about 1,000 feet of ascent. The leg held out really well, so I was extremely pleased with it and myself. Next time, I'd go further, but for now, a few shots of Froggatt edge and the valley.
The skies looked a bit dark when we set off, but it felt fantastic to just be out again, breathing in the crisp, clean air and striding out along the edges with such fine views.

Looking along Froggatt edge.
Still some remains of the snow in the gullies.
The path along the top was still frozen hard, despite the weak sunshine.
Sue and our friend Moira - putting the world to rights!
This rock must have been molten at some time to have been 'bent' like that.
Looking northwards towards Kinder Scout
This looks like a great spot for lunch, in the woods.
Nice shadows as we approach the river valley and Froggatt village.
Sun on the river Wye.
Froggatt bridge.
We were VERY lucky to see a group of male goosander on the river.
There were about eight of them.
I also saw this lovely patch of fungi, and had to be 'dangled' over the river to get this shot.
I was SO pleased that we'd been out again, and we celebrated with a pint at the pub in Calver.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Llangollen, final part.

Here we go then - last pics from our trip to Llangollen. I'd seen, on many occasions, this sort of bridge. I'd no IDEA what it was, or how it worked, but here one was, and now I could see just how it worked.

This was the point where we turned back - I didn't want to exacerbate my knee problem, but I was loving seeing this area 'close up'. We decided to drop under the viaduct to have a look. These icicles were really impressive.
That one under the centre was HUGE!!! If it broke off whole, it would impale the ground.
But enough of this - we needed to relax. The Michelin starred meal I had planned had fallen through, thanks to the snow, but Gales wine bar (across from our B&B) came mightily to the rescue. The food was just superb, and we took full advantage of the night to enjoy ourselves. Happy birthday, Sue xx
So - next morning it was time to face the drive home. All the scare-mongering didn't put me off, but it DID make me re-schedule times. Instead of leaving Llangollen early, we left just before lunch. It was a good move, as the roads were clear right up until Buxton. The A6 was a bit dire, but no problem for the Honda.

Even the speed camera outside Bakewell looked a bit merry with its cap of snow on - WELCOME HOME!
How to get into the car park - well, act like a snow plough, and just GO for it!
No-one else had bothered to have a go though.
This was the scene when I opened the back door.
Just HOW to shovel this lot out? (that's the 2 dustbins on the left). In the end, I had to shovel all the snow over the gate, THEN shovel it again to get out (the gate opens inwards).
Or this lot at the front of the cottage.

To be honest, we LOVED the snow. Yes, ok, we got a bit fed up after it ruined business for a month, but it DID look lovely :-) Anyway, now we have spring to look forward to. The birds are perking up, and we are looking for the first snowdrops to peep out of the ground. I hope you've enjoyed this little trip of ours.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Llangollen, day two

The mighty River Dee, and lovely stone bridge, so reminiscent of our own bridge in Bakewell.

The Llangollen canal, held firmly in the icy grip of winter.

Amazingly, there were footprints all over the place. We could see the canal wasn't frozen in some places, particularly the edges, so thought this 'ice walking' a pretty stupid pastime!

Icicles hanging above the river. Nothing for perspective, but they were about 8 - 10 feet long.

Looking upstream to the Chain Bridge pub, and the bridge it gets its name from.

The 'famous' chain bridge - a bit of a let-down, really. In quite bad repair, in need of a coat of paint, and roped off to prevent access.

They were repairing the canal in places, and we had a most interesting chat with the head bod on the job. The canal was leaking quite badly, and a hue percentage of water was being lost, so they were 'plugging it.
We made our way back to town, and later on went out to try and get a nice night picture of the bridge.

The next morning, we decided to see if we could drive over the horseshoe pass. With the 4WD Honda, we were in good hands, and anyway, we could turn back if it looked bad. To our surprise, the roads were clear, and we had a lovely trip to the top of the pass. This is the Valle Crucis abbey a little way up the pass. Read about it here;

The Eglwyseg rocks. Offas Dyke passes below this impressive limestone escarpment. As you can see, they've had a fair sprinkling of snow, and looked wonderful.

Almost like Arctic tundra - the hills around the top of the Horseshoe pass. This is when the knee injury really was hard to bear, we'd LOVE to get out and up there.

Looking back down the Horseshoe pass.

The view to the Llangollen valley, or 'cym'.

This was the best we could do - at the edge of the car park of the 'Ponderosa' cafe/pub.

After that, we got back in the car and made our way to Froncycyllte, and the famous pontcysyllte viaduct.
This is the basin where they 'park' the hire boats.

A world-changing man - no doubt.

WHAT a thing to build, WHAT a man of vision. The pontcysyllte viaduct.

Again, the canal is in deep freeze.

Chirk castle limestone company, and a very nice monolith depicting the various types of picks they used.

That's yer lot for this time - next set of pics will show impressive icicles hanging underneath the viaduct, plus our journey back to Bakewell, from where we'd been getting texts saying; 'DON'T COME HOME YET - TWO FEET OF SNOW HERE'!! But we had the Honda - we'd be ok.......wouldn't we........???